One of the most famous landmarks in the Czech Republic is set for a huge overhaul as authorities have decided that the Prague Astronomical Clock will go digital.
One of the main reasons for the significant change is that a major new study has shown that the majority of young people are not able to fully understand how to tell the time in the traditional way.
With declining watch sales and the rise of the cell phone, parents are not teaching their kids how to tell the time manually and tourists are getting pretty frustrated at watching something they don’t fully understand or appreciate. It is hoped that the upgrade will improve the understanding of the clock and its past.
The clock is currently going through routine maintenance and will have a grand reopening this summer, which will feature the new digital display.
Some wanted to take the development a step further and replace the figures and mechanisms with holographic projections, but this idea was deemed a step too far.
History of the clock:
The oldest part of clock dates back to 1410 when it was made by clockmaker Mikuláš of Kadaň and Jan Šindel, then later a professor of mathematics and astronomy at Charles University. The first recorded mention of the clock was on 9 October 1410. Later, presumably around 1490, the calendar dial was added and the clock facade was decorated with gothic sculptures.
Formerly, it was believed that the clockwas constructed in 1490 by clockmaster Jan Růže (also called Hanuš); but this is now known to be a historical mistake. A legend, recounted by Alois Jirásek, has it that the clockmaker Hanuš was blinded on the order of the Prague Councillors so that he could not repeat his work; in turn, he disabled the clock, and no one was able to repair it for the next hundred years.